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SBD/Issue 51/Sports Media
And We're Live: Danielson Heads List Of Top Football Announcers
Published November 23, 2009
A panel of reporters and editors from THE DAILY, SportsBusiness Journal and Sporting News has named CBS’ Gary Danielson the top football broadcaster, according to SBJ’s Rob Knapp, who writes Danielson combines “preparation, football smarts and an almost eerie ability to make observations just as they come into play in the game.” The panel took several different qualities into mind while making the list, and accuracy “was the baseline for professionalism.” Accuracy applies to “both positions in the booth, but the brunt falls on the play-by-play announcer, who communicates to the audience what is going on as it happens.” Announcers have the “least control” over their voice, but it is “no less important, and it’s something that all the other good attributes in the world can’t overcome.” Preparation is important, as those who know the “most about their teams and have the most related subjects and statistics to talk about will succeed even when the drama on the field fades.” The panel “liked analysts who are willing to call players out within the context of the game,” but it was “divided on how outspoken play-by-play announcers should be.” Meanwhile, a broadcaster’s on-air personality played a role, as the job “goes beyond words and delivery and extends to the connection that an announcer makes with a viewer.”
24. Gus Johnson
Memorable calls make him perfect announcer for YouTube generation. Some questioned whether he should save excitement for biggest of big plays.
25. Dick Enberg
Makes more mistakes than he used to, but he’s an artist with the language and delivers his catchphrase “Oh, my!” with trademark good cheer.
|Panelists from SBJ/SBD: Rick Ellington, Betty Gomes, Bill King, Rob Knapp, John Ourand, Paul Sanford. From SN: Marcus DiNitto, Jim Gilstrap, Dan Graf, Bob Hille, Vinnie Iyer, Derek Samson|
WHAT WE LIKE: SBD’s Rick Ellington writes Danielson “can be summed up in one word: homework,” as no other announcer “comes into a broadcast better prepared and with a better knowledge of the teams playing.” SBJ’s Betty Gomes writes while not everyone “appreciates Collinsworth’s commentary,” she would “much rather have a game analyst who’s willing to call someone out.” Gomes: “Keep the catchphrases and hyperbole. I’ll take Collinsworth’s honesty.” SBD’s Paul Sanford writes Michaels “brings a credibility to the broadcast that is unmatched in today’s world of sports broadcasting. When viewers hear Michaels’ voice, they know they’re about to watch a big game.” SBD/SBJ’s John Ourand writes Nantz “calls football games the way I want to hear them. He has perfected an understated delivery that shows a tremendous amount of respect for the events he covers.”
WHAT WE DON'T LIKE: SBJ’s Gomes writes she does not have an issue with Johnson’s “level of excitement,” but she does “cringe at replays of Johnson’s call of Brandon Stokley’s tipped-ball touchdown” in the Broncos’ Week One win over the Bengals. Gomes: “Johnson’s call was so over the top that it was out of line with what I expect to hear as an NFL fan.” Sporting News’ Marcus DiNitto writes Gruden “shows promise as an analyst, but I was higher on Gruden in the preseason, before his constant use of hyperbole and coach-speak and his fawning over players and coaches began wearing thin.” Meanwhile, SBJ’s Bill King writes Tirico “would be fine on the second or third crew on CBS or Fox, but viewers deserve more on the NFL’s showcase games. They deserve a style. An angle. Maybe even the occasional moment of honest criticism” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/23 issue).
DANIELSON PICK IS ON THE MARK: In Birmingham, David Knox wrote the selection of Danielson as the top announcer “gets no argument here.” Knox: “He makes the SEC broadcast the best of the day, maybe the best of the weekend” (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 11/21). The WASHINGTON EXAMINER’s Jim Williams wrote Danielson is “very entertaining and best of all speaks his mind.” Michaels has been “outstanding for a number of years and he remains the standard by [which] others are measured,” while “no one sells a game better” than Musburger (EXAMINER.com, 11/22). SPORTINGNEWS.com’s Dan Shanoff wrote, “I love the pick of Gary Danielson as the top football announcer – if you hate the SEC, though, he might not be for you” (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 11/20). But in Dallas, Barry Horn wrote the list appears to “have a Southeastern Conference fixation,” as Danielson “is good with X’s and O’s but too often sounds like a SEC homer” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 11/22).
Writer Says Herbstreit Gets "Better And
Better Every Season"
ANOTHER OPINION: FANGSBITES.com’s Ken Fang presented his top play-by-play men and analysts in separate lists. He put Michaels atop the PBP list and wrote, “Probably the best all-around play-by-play voice ever. … There’s no one better at setting the scene, giving perspective and breaking down complicated moments than Al.” CBS’ Ian Eagle, who is not on the SBD/SBJ/SN list, ranked sixth for Fang, who wrote, “CBS would do everyone a favor in promoting him to the 3rd or 4th [NFL] announcing team next season.” Simms was the top analyst, with Fang writing, “He’s not afraid to admit he’s wrong. He studies tape every week and can spot things in the booth that other analysts cannot.” NBC’s Pat Haden is the highest-ranking analyst not on the SBD/SBJ/SN list, and Fang wrote, “It’s too bad that Notre Dame has fallen off the nation’s radar because Pat Haden would be considered one of the elite analysts” (FANGSBITES.com, 11/19).